Thomas J. Donnelly of Laconia, NH died suddenly on October 16, 2021. He was the beloved husband of Margaret (Woo) Donnelly, loving father to Marc P. Donnelly & his wife Karena, and Heather Donovan & her husband James, and proud grandfather of Shamus & Erin Donovan and Brendan and Kyle Donnelly.
Tom was born in Greenville, South Carolina to Paul and Barbara Donnelly when Paul was being discharged from the armed services during WWII, but was raised in Watertown, MA. Tom was the eldest of 10, something he was extremely proud of. Family was everything to him, and the relationships he shared with his siblings and their families show how much love, respect, and devotion they all have for one another. He is survived by his siblings Paul W. Donnelly, Jr. & wife Joy of Ludlow VT, Joseph M. Donnelly & wife Claire of Beverly MA, Barbara J. Donnelly & husband John Palombo of Medfield MA, Nancy A. Ferraro & husband Ralph of Venice FL, Judith M. Drennan & husband Paul of Westford MA, Susan E. Donnelly of Vero Beach FL, Peter R. Donnelly & husband Stephen Desroches of Provincetown MA, Michael J. Donnelly & husband Garry Olney of Austin TX, and David J. Donnelly & wife Michele of Waltham MA. He is also survived by many nieces, nephews, cousins, grandnieces and grandnephews and friends.
Tom’s love for and pride in his children, Marc and Heather, was evident every time he recalled stories of their childhoods, every time he received a call, text or email from them, every time he saw them, their spouses and their children. Tom lovingly, and with a lot of laughter and hugs, raised his children in Whitman and then in Bridgewater. He always did his best to be there for all his children's games and events, a trait he carried on with his four grandchildren. He drove the family to Disney World in the family station wagon, paddled his family in canoes, and camped many times on the Saco River. He put in a pool so he could host many fun family get-togethers. After moving to California, he would come back at the drop of a hat for as many family gatherings as he could (including surprising his son and daughter-in-law by hopping a red-eye and showing up unannounced, complete with Dunkin’ Donuts coffee, to see his day-old grandson). He was always up for an adventure, ziplining (at 67!) and hiking with his grandchildren, which of course always ended with ice cream.
Tom was a self-made man. He graduated from Watertown High School in 1963. During this time, he worked at his father’s gas station in Watertown. He had so many colorful stories of the various people who stopped there—especially during the late-night shifts. He later drove delivery trucks and had other jobs to support himself, but he earned an Associates Degree in Marketing from Burdett College in 1967 to build a solid foundation for his future. He worked in Sales at first, but then began his career in Computer Technology. It turned out to be a 35-year career working for the same company through many mergers and acquisitions. While the company names changed—Entrex, Nixdorf, Siemens/Nixdorf, Pyramid Technology, Siemens/Pyramid, and finally, Fujitsu—Tom did not. Wherever he worked, he was a valued expert in whichever product he marketed, and a trusted and well-loved colleague by all who worked with him. After moving to New Hampshire and happily retiring after a few years of remote working, he took up wood turning as a hobby and became the family “bowlman.” His beautiful bowls, platters, vases, and more grace the homes of friends, family, and customers throughout the U.S. and the world.
Tom met the love of his life, Margaret, when he was working as a Product Marketing Manager for Pyramid Technology in San Jose, California. What he thought was a temporary assignment turned into a permanent position, and what started out as a friendship turned into a 23-year marriage full of love, laughter, and true devotion. When Margaret was diagnosed and treated for Breast Cancer, he was by her side every minute. And when her cancer metastasized in early 2021, he put away his own fear and grief and was her rock. However, that was no different than any and every day that they shared together. Love, laughter, joy, respect, and a deep devotion to one another were the hallmarks of their relationship.
Tom and Margaret moved back East to New Hampshire from California in 2009 to be closer to Tom’s children and family, and especially to spend more time with his aging father. They also brought Margaret’s ailing mother with them to New Hampshire to ensure that she would always have the support she needed as she battled her health issues. Tom never once regretted the time he spent taking care of both of Margaret’s parents, and he often recalled dropping by his own parents’ home in Watertown after a long workday just to sit and enjoy their company. The time spent with family was so precious to him, and with Tom’s sudden passing, it has given new meaning and importance to the memories he was able to make with Margaret, his children, his grandchildren, siblings, nieces, nephews, cousins, friends, and to all who met this instantly-likeable man.
Per his wishes, funeral Services for Tom will be private. Memorials in Tom’s memory are requested (in lieu of flowers) to be made to Concord Hospital, Payson Center for Cancer Care, 250 Pleasant St. Concord, NH 03301 or at http://www.concordhospital.org with gift notification to Margaret Donnelly.
Concord Hospital, Payson Center for Cancer Care
250 Pleasant St., Concord NH 03301